Why don’t skyscrapers sway in the wind? How does a ground-fault interrupter work? What’s the ultimate fate of the universe? Who developed our understanding of the nature of the atom? Physics is full of questions. Some are about the most fundamental ideas on which the universe is based, others involve everyday applications of physics, many are just fun. Most have answers, although those answers may have been different in the past and may be different in the future.
The Handy Physics Answer Book is written for you to explore these and other questions and to ponder over their answers. It should lead you to ask further questions and search for other answers. Eschewing the usual mathematical explanations for physics phenomena, this approachable reference explains complicated scientific concepts in plain English that everyone can understand.
But it contains more. Physics has been developed by people over more than two thousand years. They come from diverse backgrounds from a wide range of cultures. Some made only one contribution, others made important advances over many years in several different areas. The names of some will be familiar: Einstein, Newton, Galileo, Franklin, Curie, Feynman. Others you may not have heard of: Alhazen, Goeppert-Meyer, Cornell, Heaviside. A complete list of physics Nobel Prize winners is included.
The Handy Physics Answer Book does not have to be read from beginning to end. Look through the index for a topic that interests you. Or, open it at random and pick a question that has always puzzled you. If a scientific term is not familiar, refer to the glossary at the end of the book. While the book describes concepts much more than equations, it does use symbols to represent physics quantities. If you’re not familiar with a symbol, there is a helpful dictionary, at the end of this book, as well as a glossary of terms.
Does an answer leave you wanting more information? Look at the bibliography for a book or Website; then visit a library, bookstore, or access the Web.
But above all, enjoy your adventure!